Can you handle the truth?


Current Yellow Pages logo.
Image via Wikipedia


(With apologies to Jack Nicholson.)

Recently a friend of an old school friend (living on the other side of the world) came to me for some free advice. (You know the know-it-all, international consultant who won’t charge because you are a friend.)

The friend of a friend owns 6 video stores, and some months run at a loss. He had problems and he was looking for some answers. The real problem though, was that he wanted me to tell him to do this promotion or paint it that colour – and magically his sales would shoot up and he would become rich; but the reality is that video shops are rapidly becoming surplus to society’s needs

I am congenitally incapable of cloaking the truth in bullsh*t, so this is what I told them: I told the friend of a friend that he should sell the business. And if that was not possible, transform the businesses into something else by re-positioning it.

The 'friend' did not bother to respond at all, and the other wrote a very curt thank-you note. Apparently the answers they got wasn’t the answers they needed..

  • The reason why trading Post did not become EBay…

  • The reason why Britannica did not become Wikipedia…

  • The reason why Yellow Pages did not become Craigslist…


The reasons why the friend of a friend is hanging on to the video shop are what exactly?

  1. Because what he does defines him to the extent that he cannot let go.

  2. Because it looks so good, and he spent so much time developing it, that changing it would be an admission of failure.

  3. And finding another use for it, no matter how sexy, would be conceding to serendipity when you just want to feel smart.


Our own worst enemy is the failure to handle the truth – because it does not suit. Is you business the next Encyclopaedia Britannica?
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